Tis the season to spend! Presents, decorations, fruit mince pies – these are some of the highlights of the festive season, yet also just a few of the many additional expenses you need to plan for, come the Christmas period. To have a jolly holiday, we’ve put together five of our top money-savvy tips to get help you stay on track for a stress-free end to the year:
- Make a list and check it twice
Ask yourself the honest question: what can you realistically afford to spend this year? Estimate your total expenses, upcoming repayments, bills and costs, and tally these against your expected income. Now it’s time to trim the fat. Can you sacrifice a month of TV subscription or reduce the number of times you are eating out to balance the increased spending? Keep in mind, these sacrificial habits are only temporary, so try withstanding the duration for the reward!
- Resist reaching for the credit card
We understand the appeal credit cards advertise, but we encourage restraint around this time of year if you want to reduce January debt. In 2016, Finder.com.au found that 36 percent of the nation paid for Christmas presents on their credit card, with the foreboding post-Christmas debt coming in at $397 million in 2017.
Credit cards aren’t the only debt generators to be wary of. Beware of the newest trap: Afterpay. While the ‘shop now, pay later’ approach is beneficial in the short term, you can quickly accumulate debt that becomes just a little too much to handle. Be mindful that if you must use one of these credit options, that you can easily meet the payment terms.
- Show your savings account some love
One of our more simpler tips, yet often the most overlooked. Having the benefit of still being a few weeks out from the crazy period, making the effort to deposit an extra sum of money into a separate, high-interest savings account per week will certainly ‘pay’ off in the long run. A sacrifice of an extra $50 per week over an eight-week period will save you another $400, enough to cover a few relatives presents.
- Don’t forget the entertainment!
I’m sure we can all agree the festive season isn’t just the happiest time of year, but the most social, too. The influx of events come December is an aspect of the budget people tend to neglect. Uber fairs, food, drinks, ticket prices, new outfits… the list goes on.
Firstly, take some time to assess and pencil in your upcoming events to save any missed memos or unexpected parties you didn’t budget for. Make a habit of regularly looking beyond the next seven days, so you can adjust your weekly spend if necessary.
While you’re at it, are there any events planned for November you can consider turning down or sacrificing for a cost-free night in? As our schedules congest in the weeks approaching Christmas, October and November are the months to squeeze in that down time. As an alternative, consider lower cost options – things such as picnics, ‘bring a dish’ themed dinners and barbeques by the beach are a few budget friendly ideas for keeping social, without over-spending.
- Save more online
Although online shopping lacks the instantaneous gratification of present buying, for those looking to seriously reduce their spending, the internet is the place to go.
Aside from the overall lower cost of goods online, priced to compete with their brick and mortar counterparts, there are additional tools you can employ to save that little bit extra. Online add-ons such as Honey automatically find and apply any coupon codes or discount vouchers that may be available, as well as subscribing to mailing lists can also earn you % off your purchase.
However, we encourage you to remain aware when using your credit card details online. If you are unfamiliar with an online store we recommend doing a quick Google search to ensure they are safe and there aren’t any bad reviews. Third party payment websites such as Paypal are always encouraged as a safe payment method.
We hope our budgeting tips have inspired you to get into the saving spirit early, so you can get the most out of the festive season without the buyer’s remorse come January. If you need assistance with your finances, or are perhaps considering refinancing your home loan as a way to save, get in touch with Dean from The Finance Agency today on 0413 766 456.